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Wednesday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Driedger nominated for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

With the Florida Panthers, and the rest of the Discover Central Division, done with the regular season, let’s play catch up with some Cats news that wasn’t really touched upon on the LBC.

Chris Driedger Nominated for 2020-21 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

The South Florida chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association announced that goaltender Chris Driedger has been selected as the club’s 2020-21 nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Driedger, 26, has appeared in a career-high 23 games with Florida this season. He posted a 14-6-3 record, 2.07 goals against average, .927 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded each season under the trusteeship of the PHWA to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr was the recipient of the 2016 Masterton Trophy and goaltender Roberto Luongo was a finalist for the award in 2018.

Cats post best regular season numbers on Bally Sports Florida in 17 years

Bally Sports Florida, the network home of the Panthers, announced the 2020-21 Panthers regular season finished as Florida’s highest-rated locally in nearly two decades. The Panthers posted a 0.5 HH rating average (7,852 homes) over the course of 54 regular season games. The 0.5 HH marks Florida’s best viewership number since the 2003-04 season and represents a +67% increase for the Panthers in year-over-year viewership.

The Panthers regular-season finale last night was the most-watched Panthers game of the season (0.8 HH) and most-watched regular-season Panthers game locally since 2016-17. The game peaked at a 1.2 HH over the final hour.

Through 47 games, the Panthers were on pace to post their most-streamed season ever between FOX Sports GO and the all-new Bally Sports app. Live streaming was at +46% year-over-year going into the final week of the season.

Panthers to Hold Ceremonial Groundbreaking at War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, May 25th

The Panthers will hold a Ceremonial Groundbreaking and Private Outdoor Reception at the War Memorial Auditorium site in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, May 25 at 4 p.m. ET.

The private ceremony, which will be attended by Florida Panthers leadership, city and county dignitaries, and distinguished community and project partners, will provide exclusive new updates on the Panthers-led $65 million War Memorial Revitalization project, and offer guests an on-the-ground glimpse into Fort Lauderdale’s past, present, and future with a historic time capsule gallery, 3D project renderings, and other visual elements.

The ceremony will also include a special jersey presentation to introduce the first recipients of Florida Panthers Foundation’s Youth Hockey Scholarship which will cover the full cost of skating & hockey training, equipment, practice clinics, and more for each of the 10 selected boys & girls, ages 7-10, throughout their entire hockey journey.

Jets beat Canucks to set playoff matches in the North Division

The Winnipeg Jets blanked the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 last night to clinch third place in the Scotia North Division. Winnipeg will take on the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs, while the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Montreal Canadiens in the postseason for the first time since 1979.